Lita Ortiz, descendant of pioneer Brownsville families died on the 14th day of January 2019, in Brownsville, Texas. She was preceded in death by her parents Claudio J. Ortiz and Consuelo Torres Ortiz. She is survived by several relatives from the Ortiz and Torres families in the United States and one in Athens, Greece.
Lita was educated in Brownsville schools and graduated from Our Lady of the Lake High School, San Antonio, Texas, Stephens College, Columbia Missouri and Our Lady of the Lake University and Worden School of Social Service where she received her Masters Degree in Social Work. She was licensed as an advanced practitioner at the University of Texas Galveston. She completed an internship and held the title of Medical Technologist of the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Ms. Ortiz also graduated from the Catholic Church Lay Ministry Program. A certificate was awarded by Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick. Ms. Ortiz was dedicated to her studies and excelled in her academic endeavors consistently. She was given many awards.
Prior to her career as a social worker she utilized her degree in chemistry and microbiology. She was a chief medical technologist at the University of Texas John Sealy Hospital in Galveston and also at Mercy Hospital in Brownsville. She taught Bacteriology to nursing students at Mercy Hospital.
The major part of her career was the Texas Department of Human Services serving as an child protective service worker and as a supervisor of the Cameron County Child Protective Services Unit. She also served as a lead Staff Development Specialist and as a Regional Director of Staff Development. She was the first woman Regional Director in this area. During this time she initiated a Masters Degree in Social Work which involved the University of Texas at Arlington and Pan America University Edinburg. She also taught sophomore students at Pan American University, Edinburg. Ms. Ortiz received many honors in her position and was acknowledged by the State of Texas as having the best staff development program. She was responsible for the training of approximately 1300 employees. When asked about her success; she states that it was her team members who deserved the credit.
Ms. Ortiz was an active member of the community. She served on the Board of Directors of Esperanza Home for Boys. She was on the Board of Guadalupe Regional Middle School and Saint Joseph Academy. She was awarded the Spirit Award in 2011 by the Academy and was recognized by Bishop Daniel Flores at the annual awards banquet for Catholic Schools. Ms. Ortiz thought that education was very important and wanted to contribute to young peoples' education.
Ortiz was a member of Pan American Round Table 1 of Brownsville. She held several offices including being the Director. She initiated the Scholarship Tea for Brownsville students which has been very successful. At the Historic Brownsville Museum, she was Vice-President and Treasurer. Ms. Ortiz loved the theater and served on the Board of Directors of the Camille Playhouse for many years. She held several offices including being its president. She initiated a fund raiser to initiate many repairs and remodeling. Ms. Ortiz was a member of the Legacy Society of the University of Texas at Brownsville, which confirms her dedication in assisting young people in receiving an education. Ms. Ortiz was a docent at Gladys Porter Zoo manning the information booth and assisted in Zoofari activities.
All during her retirement years, Ms. Ortiz was exceptionally active as a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church. She served in many capacities including assisting her pastor Father Warren Brown OMI by serving several hours a day. She was helpful in organizing the parish council along with other duties.
Ms. Ortiz was also responsible for the marriage preparation program for the Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart. She served the Diocese as a member of the marriage Tribunal and was a representative of her parish on the Diocesan Parish Council under Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick.
At Sacred Heart she was the coordinator of the Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers and the lectors, she was also a lector and Eucharistic Minister. As needed she assisted in helping with Mass selections for funerals. She was a member of the finance committee. She was exceptionally grateful to be part of a group called the Oblate Associates. One of the programs which she initiated were the "Porch Parties" held after Mass at Sacred Heart. She enjoyed engaging people on the work of the church its outcome being a spirit of camaraderie. She also initiated the recruitment and training of altar servers. She always recognized others and had a thank you party for them yearly for services rendered and for setting goals for the upcoming year. Ms. Ortiz was appointed Chair of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Sacred Heart Church 2012-2013. Prior to this she chaired several liturgy committees and served in other activities.
Those of you who remember Lita as a child will recall her Shirley Temple curls and dresses. She was also called "The Prima Ballerina" of Brownsville. Reading Nancy Drew books was a favorite pastime. Later she loved the theatre and traveling. She traveled extensively through the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. She visited every country in Europe. For many years she was an avid bridge player and belonged to a Bunco group. She claims she was an expert on winning the booby prize at Bunco. She enjoyed opening her home for parties and entertained friends. Her home was frequently open for church meetings since Sacred Heart did not have a parish hall.
As token of appreciation for her years of service Father Michael Amesse, OMI her pastor had a pulpit made so she and others could continue to be lectors in spite of their handicap. He also dedicated the pulpit to her mother Consuelo Torres Ortiz for her many years of service to Sacred Heart.
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2019 with a recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7 p.m. The funeral mass is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 19, 2019 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church located on 602 E. Elizabeth St. following interment at Buena Vista Burial Park. Honored to serve as Lita's pallbearers are; Bobby Torres Jr., Enrique Melguizo, William Putegnat, Miguel Ortiz, Mike Garcia and James Lawrence Torres.
Lita loved animals, especially her pets. Gifts to the Brownsville Animal Shelter at 416 FM 511 in Olmito, Texas or to the Oblate School of Theology 285 Oblate Drive in San Antonio, Texas 78216 will be deeply appreciated.
Family and friends are invited to view the obituary, sign the guestbook, and leave a condolence message for Lita's family at www.trevinofuneral.com.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Trevino Funeral Home and Cremations, 1355 Old Port Isabel Rd., Brownsville, Texas 78521 and 956-542-2583.